Tl;Dr: Arkan started a cosplay that waited over orders for a year and then finished it several improvements laters when level 10 came out!
Greetings everyone! In these stranges and disturbing times here goes some cheerful reading and distracting pictures! For the new ones here this is how we go: History behind the cosplay, how every pieces got made, their challenges, annecdotes and finally the final notes! This is Arkan writting, please have a nice time learning about this cosplay from our Studio!
Also! You can see this coat's progress on our old Arkan's Week serie avaible on our YouTube Channel!
A Bit of History
So I am a forever Game Master. Well almost thanks to Kao's! I've GMed Call of Cthulhu games for a while before moving to 5e D&D. We have an ongoing 2 years campain at the moment and I'm having time to get some Call of Cthulhu and Cyberpunk one shots every once in a while with many friends. Life is good for a GM with time and amazing players.
What made me try the D&D system and Fantasy genre are the French YouTube Series called Aventures by le Joueur du Grenier and -mostly- Critical Role. I heard about the show when the last episode of Campain 1 was to be aired live. I listened and stopped half through C1 and got a fresh start with C2 through the Mighty Nein when it all begun. Watching live! All the first 30 episodes! At 4 am! Every Wednesday! Why rest when you have a new passion for something?
Caleb got into my head pretty fast. The design, story, dialogues, confident akwardness, goals: everything about this man I ADORE. It is around episode 8 that his cosplay was fully planned and on top of my to-do list. Then got on hold until episode 40 or so with the load of orders and some things happening thanks to life!
The first piece that got crafted was the coat. And what a pleasure it was to start.
This piece has been through so many improvements! I will go with the first one to the last up to date!
The very first one was made very early back in 2018 I believe? It was from an old trench's coat pattern that was made in 2017. The light brown cotton got lined with a gentle grey shepperd fur fabric that is still amazing to wear around. It is so warm and comfy that I cannot use the leftovers for anything else but an improvised blanket. I am trying to make something usefull out of them but there is no use, this funny cropped looking blanket is too amazing to give up. (However Kao's I'll trade yours for mine, my offer is still there and totally fair and worth it!)
The coat itself was pretty easy to sew and was almost completeted within a day worth of work. It was made with old and outdated measurements. The shoulders were a little too tights but it was good enough for a first draft. I had to finish the seams at its bottom and to this day they are yet to be finished. This piece of clothing have been put aside when I received the new fake fur fabric that matched better the overall Caleb's aesthetic from the official art and the many fanarts from the Critters Family!
This new fabric have fake hairs instead of small wool clumps and is easier to cut BUT A HELL TO WORK AND CUT WITH SCISORS. It made the room so messy with its thousands of tiny polyester's bits scattering everywhere. Cut it with a utility knife or something alike to avoid the whole mess if you can get away with a tip.
The new better version and still up to date one was in fact made several time for customers before I grabbed some time to work on one for myself. Then orders got put on top of our to-do list so I gave Kao's the task of finishing it for me and now we have one to wear around!
I still have the first coat somewhere in my closet and it is sometime put to use on winters as it is a very great robe-like piece of clothing that is very comfortable to wear! I wish I had finished it back then though, it kind of feel as an incomplete project! We'll see if it ever get finished!
Let's talk to my favorite clothe of the build. This undercoat is by far the one I love the most currently between all of the cosplays I have ever made! Lined linen fabric for that sweet medieval feel with brass eyelets and T H I C C laces.
I planned to do the whole as a one part piece. But then I remembered that this would be worn not only by me but by people at conventions during hot times. And that the neck piece would be a heat trap nightmare. So I decided to separate them into two parts and it was pretty well received by people! The collar can be removed easily and it keeps the neck free without any unpleasant frictions! The tabar itself can be easily removed by untying the side laces!
But what is this? A perfect version on the first try? NO! This is what YOU can get, the first one was all sewn on the side, the collar badly stiched, you had to spend 20 minutes to get in so all of your torso could hope to fit inside and be squished around with too much pressure, and then do it again for an additionnal 20 minutes with your head and half upper body trapped in the hard fabric heating everyting around you at each breath and laugh the more you are struggling, trying to get if off and with the reality of being a donkey insisting that you can fit in without adjusting anything although you could but were to impatient to try it out.
This confirmed that it needed eyelets and laces as first intented.
The customer's version got updated with better final patterns and open sides with everything you see now while mine remained on hold as expected! Once we've got some time I finally layed the eyelets and upgraded my first one to the best we could make!
The scarf is pretty straight forward, like any we do. It is a long, warm, comfortable and nice looking piece of gauze cotton that we carefully cut and get ready to be worn. And although it does not look like much, it is a pretty strong fabric as the weathering effort to put in to tear through is always way harder than it should be. Plucking holes and tearing it up was somewhat challenging for something supposed to be soft and this made me love the fabric even more!
BANDAGES AND SMOKE
Alright. So the bandages have fairly the same process as the scarf. We sewn several pieces together for additionnal length. But what about the smoke?
I used the same electronics of our Fjord's Falchion. Our Portable Smoke Machine fits under about anything and it does not burn your arm so that is very convenient and welcome.
It gives a nice aditionnal depth to the cosplay! I am willing to add some lights to back the effect as well as some fake flames but we only have so much time within a year! Some time next year maybe! So far it is very sweet and gets the job done!
This one is the the same as the one we make for our Rangers. Initially it was for Caleb's Cosplay but our NCR Boi got updated first and are selling fairly often so I granted it its belonging to the Fallout Cosplay Category. But that's the same trouser's pattern basically.
The thing is not weathered though, as I was lazy for my own personnal cosplay so it is now my main outfit and it's gorgeous. Procrastination is at its best right now as I cutted another pair to assemble and they are still waiting to be sewn together 5 months later.
MAKEUP AND WIG STYLING
I do not have a huge knoweldge other that knowing how to make me look tired, serious and with not-so-lame-but-not-basic-still straight contours on my face so I will not extend on this. Also wigs are my nightmares. I gave myself the usual nose job, added the eyebags that for the life of me never get even after a 24 hours rush and tried to square things up to achieve that Eastern European face's look.
I received the wig pretty early on to the making of this cosplay and I gave all my best on the first cut back in 2018. I took the largest chunks away but it still needed some styling. So that meant heavy layers of hairspray to get the mess organized and see what to do next. Then I left if for 5 months umoved and came back to it with more tutorials in mind. The second pass is better, though improvable as always, but I like it this way for now and I am not confident enough to keep working on it. It might get into the hands of someone more qualified for this task!
This is what I have been waiting for what it seems to be forever. My mother helped me and was kind enough to bear me for a whole photoshoot! And that is a LOT!
Fun fact: the book Caleb is holding is the Necronomicon. And I am happy about that!
It was a bit of a windy day so the smoke was a little harder to manage outside than expected but it turned out great! We recorded some rolls for a video I wanted to make but it was not good enough. We might do more about it later after our Cyberpunk Short!
Using the wood fences was a nice feeling as I made them myself! They were originally crafted and used for the Leper Sword and Mask from Darkest Dungeon. The lights color scheme was matching perfectly what I wanted to capture for Caleb and the lenses are so noticeable! They are the best one I have worked with so far and used them for my Ciel's Cosplay as well! This brand is my favorite as it offers lots of details, contrasts and is easy on my eyes.
I have good memories of this photoshoot. They are very blurry since I cannot see a thing properly without my glasses, but defenitely clear in my mind!
I know that completing cosplays and props is not the best bits to me. It is rather the stories and what you learn along the way that make them so memorable and enjoyable. Having them displayed and ready to be worn at any time is awesome! But I remember everything involved while crafting this cosplay rather than the hundreds of lines I sewn and the usual weathering treatment!
I remember the time I spent working with Kao's, overheating like an idiot alone in my room trying to wear the undercoat, splashing myself with bleached salt water while weathering everything as I said to myself to be careful, making my casual silly face on a selfie with my Mom at the end of the photoshoot, listening to every episodes of C2 being mostly sleep deprived waiting and wishing to get this cosplay done one day, hammering my thumb like an eyelet twice because I unfocused for a second... The list goes on!
WHAT'S NEXT THEN
Well level 10 Caleb was started back in November 2019! But for the sake of my own sanity I am waiting a bit before completing this time and mind consuming embroided velvet that the new coat is fow now! We have plenty of projects at this time and I do not feel like rushing the cosplay just for the sake of making it avaible and just done "because Caleb". As a great thousand years old soul inside a good looking body said: "Life need things to live" and we have a lot to content ourselves for now!
We might have level 10 Yasha being worked on later this year though. This is up to Kao's and we mean no pressure as she is free to do whatever she wants! I will get my hands busy on a Skingorger at some point anyway to decorate the room! Making Fjord Star Razor is also on the to-do list.
That is all for Critical Role stories for today! We will have our Fjord's Falchion build explained next! Have a wonderful day and keep safe!